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Tuesday, September 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Scaled back Evening in Blanc will be virtual fundraiser for Project Beauty Share

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

You can still wear white and sip chilled chardonnay or champagne, but your outfit could easily be workout wear or pajamas, and since you won’t be driving anywhere, you can help yourself to a second glass.

That’s because Project Beauty Share’s third annual Evening en Blanc is going virtual.

“It’s nice to have these events with everyone together,” said Project Beauty Share’s founder Julie Farley. “But we saw the writing on the wall a couple months ago and decided to go virtual.”

The financial hit from COVID-19 has been hard for many nonprofits and Project Beauty Share is one of them. Farley said they’ve had to cancel two fundraisers, resulting in an estimated loss of $80,000.

Since its inception in 2010, the organization has provided personal hygiene, cosmetics and beauty products to nonprofit organizations who serve women and families overcoming abuse, addiction, homelessness and poverty.

“I always say we’re a food bank for beauty and hygiene items,” Farley said. “We serve over 90 agencies, regionally.”

While fundraising opportunities are limited, the need for basic necessities like soap and sanitary products continues to grow.

During the pandemic many of the agencies helped by Project Beauty Share have doubled, and in some cases, tripled the number of people they are serving.

“Thankfully, Erno Laszlo, a national brand, donated 3,000 bars of soap during the crunch time,” Farley said.

With their recent Beauty Drive, the organization hoped to raise $10,000 and collect 10,000 boxes of feminine hygiene products for distribution to local shelters, food banks and other charitable agencies.

Feminine hygiene products like menstrual pads and tampons are some of the most requested products for the nonprofit since these items can’t be purchased with food stamps.

“We knew we’d fall short because of the times we’re in, but we still feel like the Beauty Drive was a success,” said Farley. “We raised about $5,000 of our goal and collected 20,000 tampons and pads.”

Their local collection sites are slowly re-opening, and Farley can now have three to four people in their warehouse to clean and sanitize products.

“Last year, we distributed over 80,000 pounds of product valued at $2.5 million,” she said.

This year, they’ve scaled back their original Evening en Blanc goal from $150,000 to $80,000, and Farley is hoping for a good response to the silent auction and the evening’s live online auction.

Items like a chest freezer, and a child-size white Mercedes with LED headlights and a built-in horn, are expected to draw lots of bids, and a weeklong stay at a beach cabin in Lincoln City, Oregon, will be up for grabs during the live auction.

“Just click a link on your phone, have a glass of wine and bid away,” said Farley.

In January 2019, Farley retired from the Makeup Studio, her longtime downtown business, and now, Project Beauty Share is her full-time job.

She laughed.

“People ask me how retirement is and I tell them now I have just one job instead of two,” she said.

The steady growth of the nonprofit means more women across the region have accesses to items most of us take for granted.

“This is really where my passion is,” Farley said. “It’s an honor to walk in the door and know you’re making a difference.”

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